Natchez returns home to host Brandon

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 8, 2010

NATCHEZ — Natchez High head coach Lance Reed doesn’t like the position his team is in, but he sure is used to it.

Once again, the Bulldogs have their backs pressed against the wall and need to win the rest of their games to guarantee a Class 6A playoff spot.

The quest starts tonight at home when Natchez (4-2, 0-2 Region 3-6A) takes on Brandon (3-3, 2-0).

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After starting the season off with four non-region wins, the Bulldogs lost their first two district games to Meridian (24-20) and Oak Grove (31-28).

Now they face Brandon, which after a 1-3 start, won its first two district games over Hattiesburg (42-12) and Terry (33-14).

“We have to figure out a way to come back and rebound this week,” Reed said. “If we win out, we control our own destiny. If we don’t win out, then something else has to happen in order for us to get an opportunity for postseason play.

“Our focus is to control our postseason destiny, and we’re aware of what it takes to do so.”

Natchez was in a similar situation last season, when the Bulldogs began region play at 1-2 following a win over Oak Grove and losses to Meridian and Brandon.

The Bulldogs won their final four games of the season to make the playoffs by a game.

Now, it seems as if the Bulldogs are experiencing déj vu.

“They’ve been in this position before,” Reed said. “It’s not a position we seek out having, but it is what it is and we have to dig ourselves out of it.”

And in order for the Bulldogs to dig themselves out of the hole they find themselves in, they will have to play mistake-free football,” Reed said.

“We traveled on the road to two top programs in the state and came up short,” Reed said. “We have to figure out a way to take advantage of our opportunities and give ourselves a chance to come out victorious in the end. We’re just a couple of plays away from being undefeated at this point. It’s all about making a play at the end of a game to close it out.”

Reed knows his Bulldogs will have to take advantage of every opportunity they get in order to beat a Brandon team that has won two straight games following a three-game losing streak.

“(Brandon) is a team that has gotten better each week,” Reed said. “They’ve minimized their mistakes. They go out there and play hard and execute the scheme they run well. Ultimately we have to match them with intensity as far as the effort of play and play smart.”

Natchez hasn’t won a game since beating Warren Central on Sept. 10, and Reed said the team is tired of that losing feeling.

“Everyone has had a letdown as a whole,” Reed said. “We have to be able to get a taste of winning in order to get our mood back up. Everything’s a lot different when you win games; just the whole culture of the program is in better spirits. Right now the spirit isn’t at its best, but we’re working to get that better this week.”